Today, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir O. Pedersen, met with the Women’s Advisory Board (WAB) in Geneva. The Women’s Advisory Board, comprised of diverse women from civil society, is an independent source of expertise and advice for the Special Envoy including on bringing a gender perspective to bear on all topics under discussion.
The participants raised the immense trauma and pain of all Syrians, and the distinct ways Syrian women have suffered during the conflict – many, as the sole breadwinners of their families under dire economic stress; many, as victims of violence; many, facing displacement, loss of family members, and destruction of their communities. The Special Envoy saluted the courage and resilience of Syrian women in the face of these immense challenges.
The WAB participants appealed to the Special Envoy to exercise all efforts to bring all parties to the conflict to move towards a credible and inclusive Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process based on the full implementation of Security Council resolution 2254 (2015), with the meaningful participation of Syrian women at a minimum of 30% representation in all decision-making bodies. They called on the Special Envoy to facilitate deepened women’s engagement in the process at all levels and to meet and support local women’s groups.
The Special Envoy noted that International Women’s Day is a timely occasion to recognise the significant contributions of Syrian women to ending violence, building sustainable peace, and advancing equality and justice – in their communities in Syria, across the region and internationally, and in support of the UN’s efforts to facilitate an inclusive, credible intra-Syrian political process.
The Special Envoy stated that he will continue to consult with Syrian women from diverse backgrounds to ensure that women’s rights and gender equality are at the heart of the UN’s mediation efforts.